Hi everyone! Here's my live trip report as promised : )
I have to lead with this - I am watching the news in my room right now and one of the stories is that a known gang member was arrested at Downtown Disney last night with a loaded handgun in his shorts waistband. All I could think of was poor Ethelmaepotter getting berated by the cops last month at the gathering - clearly they could easily find real criminals to harass.
But I digress. I arrived at the airport at 4PM. I'd forgotten how easy it is to travel without kids. Made it down to the DME area in about 15 minutes and it was EMPTY. No lines at all - walked right onto a bus and waited about 15 minutes for it to fill up. Made it to BWV just after 5. I checked in online so I picked up my docs pretty quickly. My room request was for the top floor, near the elevator. When I saw it was on the 3rd floor, I asked if it had been renovated and I was told it was. I figured I could live with that. Well, it was obviously not and the top floor and turned out to be nowhere near the elevator, and also not renovated, so I called the front desk to ask if a renovated room was available. They checked with the room assigner and told me to go back down to the front desk and they would take care of me. Now I had to stand in the regular line and when they got to me, the CM came back with his supervisor and advised there was nothing available. I questioned why they had me traipse back to the lobby if that was the case. The supervisor told me to stop and see him tomorrow morning and he will see if something opens up - then he saw my birthday button and told me he would send something up to my room.
So I went back to my room and freshened up a little. Walked over to Epcot and got my birthday gift card - there was no line at all. I actually made it to my 7:30 Chefs de France ADR at 7PM. Hell promptly froze over (probably didn't take much after Amanx' recent stay at BCV - lol.) I checked in and the hostess told me to have a seat. 2 minutes later I hear "HATFIELD PARTY OF ONE" in a very loud voice and I ran over before people had time to gawk at me. I was seated towards the back in a window seat - I liked it very much. The lighting is a little dimmer giving it a nicer ambience. (My overall impression walking thru the main part of the restaurant is that is was exceptionally LOUD.) My waiter was Vincent from Bordeaux and he was just wonderful. I have to say, I am just continously impressed by the CM's at the Disney restaurants (well all except the waitress at last months' Kona breakfast.) The food is very good, not fabulous, but the CM's just make it for me. So I of course was wearing my birthday button, and Vincent jokingly asked if I was 21 or 22...I told him 46 and he said he never would have guessed (smart man, huh?) But he was really good, even beyond that. Very attentive and even took a little extra time to talk to me at length (the topic being, is Chicago a nice place to visit in the winter? My unequivocal answer - no. I told him to wait until March or April.) So, I started with the Salad au Bleu - very yummy. I had to get a salad so I had something to do other than text while I waited for my main course. Nah, I just really enjoy a good salad and I never get them at home because I'm busy being a short order cook. My entree was the filet - it was good, very tender, but a little lacking in flavor. The sauce tasted like brown gravy - very bland but not offensive. But, what really blew me away were the Au Gratin potatoes - they were absolutely delicious - I would have been happy with a whole plate of them. And I'm not usually that fond of potatoes. The green beans, um I mean, Haricots Verts were fine - lol. It was time for dessert. I had studied the menu on Allears before my trip and was all ready to order the "Crispy cake with chocolate milk mousse, coconut ice cream and bananas marinated in rum and lemon juice." Except it was no longer on the menu. *Sigh.* I settled for my old favorite, creme brulee. It was very good with my coffee and a little Grand Marnier. I was content to take my time and savor it all. 5 minutes later, Vincent returned with an entourage of young waiters and strawberries & ice cream with a candle. They boisterously sang "happy birthday" to me in French and I was utterly embarrassed. But in a good way. I didn't really eat the ice cream, but I do love berries with my creme brulee. It was a really nice birthday dinner and I would love to return with my kids someday.
I then walked over to this area adjacent to the bridge to France to watch Illuminations. Found a nice spot right on the water (so easy to squeeze in when there's just you!) This was my first time to see Illuminations up close, in its entirety, while not caught in a torrential downpour (and while I thought it was wonderful, I reminisced and kind of felt there was a missing element.)
It had been a long day (I actually worked for a couple of hours before my noonish flight) so I headed back to BWV. Returned to my room and there were 3 HUGE festively decorated cupcakes on my table with a birthday card from the front desk staff. Oddly enough, my balcony door was wide open; I didn't lock it and I think it just came loose. Decided to sit out there and relax and wouldn't you know it, smokers on one of the other nearby balconies. The smoke triggered an asthma attack and I had to call the front desk (I had the same problem last month at BLT. Ugh.) Hopefully it will cease, because I really, really enjoy quiet time out on the balcony at night.
My plans for the morning are up in the air - well except for breakfast - I do know that I'm having cupcakes : ) As for the rest of the morning, do I shop at Downtown Disney or head over to Epcot and get a fastpass for Soarin' and check out Sum of All Thrills? I'm thinking shopping is more my style this trip, but we'll see how I feel when I wake up. I have to be at Epcot by noon for my first wine seminar. My kids (with the help of my ex) got me a T-shirt for my birthday; it says, "Out of wine - life is crap." I thought it was perfect for F & W festival.
All in all, I am really enjoying myself thus far. It's kind of weird being here without the kids, but at the same time I feel very relaxed. And content to just soak it all in and people watch and do whatever I feel like, even if its nothing. It should be a nice weekend.